According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2,597 people were killed in United States traffic accidents in December 2010. Of those, 775 deaths involved alcohol-impaired drivers.


Georgia's Driving Under the Influence Laws are complex. Ellenwood DUI injury attorney Shane Smith can sort through the intermingled laws that potentially create complications in a DUI case.


A 27-year-old drunk driver was sentenced in 2011 to five years in prison followed by 15 years of probation after she pled guilty to six criminal counts from an accident that severely injured an 11-year-old. The accident was the woman's third DUI arrest in 16 weeks; her first two arrests were 11 days apart.


According to the NHTSA, an estimated 1.5 million people each year are arrested for drunk driving. Additionally, it is estimated that 50 percent of all drivers who are arrested for DUI are repeat offenders. Repeat DUI offenders typically drive under the influence of alcohol an average of four times per week (approximately 200 times per year) and routinely drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 percent, or almost twice Georgia's legal limit.


A repeat DUI offender must install ignition interlocks; these devices require the driver to submit breath samples and the engine will not start if the breath registers higher than a pre-programmed blood alcohol concentration level. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the installation of an ignition interlock device resulted in a 67 percent greater decrease of repeat DUI arrests compared to DUI offenders who only had their licenses suspended. This suggests that ignition interlocks are significantly more effective at preventing repeat DUI arrests then merely suspending an offender's license.


DUI offenders who have at least two convictions must install ignition interlock devices on all vehicles they own; Georgia law prohibits such offenders from operating vehicles that are not equipped with such devices. If a driver has "habitual offender" status based on two or more DUI convictions and the offender is placed on probation, an ignition interlock device must be used for six months after the probationary license has been issued as a condition of probation.


If you have questions about Georgia DUI laws, get the answers in Ellenwood DUI injury attorney Shane Smith's book, I Was Hit By a Drunk Driver: What Do I Do Next? Contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith to schedule a free legal consultation.

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